Professional Coach vs. Personal Trainer: What’s the difference?

The fitness industry has blown up in the last decade. Now, you can get a personal training certification in a few hours, for about $100 online. In South Carolina, you don’t even need a certification to “train” people and offer them advice on nutrition. You read that right – literally anyone with an opinion on working out and eating can get others to pay to tell them what to do in the gym and in the kitchen. This may seem harmless at first but think about the implications. Someone with zero experience, schooling, or formal training in the field can “teach” others how to eat and workout.

Would you go to a hair stylist that had never cut hair before – but hey, they appreciate what a good haircut looks like and they have some scissors. Would you trust a doctor whose only experience with medicine was taking it themselves? Would you have that doctor prescribe you medicine, diagnose diseases, or perform surgery? I would hope not.

Now, personal trainers aren’t all bad. There are good ones out there, but they perform a very non-specific duty. Their job is to get people to exercise. A personal trainer will take a client around to different machines haphazardly, count out some reps until you “feel a burn” and keep track of some arbitrary numbers on a clipboard in hopes that you’ll either make some progress, or that you won’t notice your lack thereof.

A coach is different.

A coach has been trained in the art and strategy of programming. Like a general going to war, a coach is experienced and knows what to do in every situation. A coach has a plethora of resources to call upon should he not know the immediate solution to a problem. Coaches are problem solvers, planners, and lead by example. Coaches know what to look for in each movement to improve your technique and understand the importance of simplicity.

Coaches have been trained to do these things and act on scientific fact – not their emotional opinions. A coach uses logic, reasoning, and application to take you from day 1 to the finish line. A coach understands the mentality behind training, and knows that “the burn” is not a measure of a good workout. A coach always looks multiple workouts ahead, and thus is not concerned with measuring your 1-rep-max or boosting your ego.

A coach wants you to have success for years to come, so your success or failure today is simply a part of the process. A coach takes emotion and ego out of training and replaces them with reason and logic.

A personal trainer wouldn’t understand any of these things.

You pay them to count your reps and feel the burn. You pay them to give you what you think is a good workout, not to write a functional program. A trainer is there to do what you tell them, and they don’t know enough to tell you otherwise.

A coach is the fearless leader on the field, and the trainer is the shaking, terrified soldier waiting to take orders from their manager and up their sales numbers. A coach knows that your success leads to his success and is not concerned with selling you anything. As someone looking for a leader in fitness and training, you want a coach, not a trainer. So contact Cox Barbell Club today or schedule your sessions online today.

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